By Leonor Hurtado
La Coincidencia farm is a creation of Hector Correa, his wife Odalys and their three children. Hector got his degree as an agronomist and then applied for and obtained free land from the Cuban government, and started growing food. They worked hard for 30 years to build a paradise! Odalys, an art historian, also values the land as a means of artistic and functional expression. Once she was on the farm, she learned ceramics and built an artist’s workshop. Presently the farm produces fruit, vegetables, legumes, pasture, sugar cane, honey, eggs, pork, poultry, beef, milk, cheese and ceramics. La Coincidencia’s agricultural and crafts production supports three families and feeds and employs fifteen more families.
Hector’s passion for agriculture and art is contagious. He welcomed the Food First group expressing his pleasure in sharing his work, products of his love and commitment. Hector shared his vision of how the person is created in the world: “The being was converted into a person when he sowed the first seed and was able to collaborate with himself in sustaining himself in nature, then he is a person because he acts with intention, visualizes the future and values what it permits him to produce.” Later he emphasized the principles that allowed them to build their farms: “Sacrifice, overcoming selfishness, enriching one’s self with every opinion and work and making art flow together with agriculture as a form of living and transcending.”
Under intermittent showers we got a tour of the farm, getting to know the areas where the various crops are planted. The small cane-brake has a manual mill where his children grind the sugarcane to offer us some cane juice – guarapo as the Cubans call it. Drinking the sweet liquid, Hector, with resignation, tells us they are suffering a heavy loss because the unseasonal rain and excessive heat of the preceding months that has led to premature flowering of the mango, guava and citrus trees. Now January’s wind and rains have knocked off the flowers from the trees. Two weeks ago, rain ruined the bean, yucca and malanga (a kind of sweet potato) harvest. But he kept his spirits up adding, “We shall come out of this fine in spite of the loss.” Throughout our visit Hector and Odalys conveyed their love, respect and deep commitment to Mother Earth.